This particular example far exceeds what is typically encountered in the marketplace. This is a COMPLETE specimen showing beautiful details of the hallmark of this species, its long first set of arms. These first arms would have been used to dig itself out of the sand and move itself backwards as it crawled on the bottom of the ocean floor. It most likely would have also raised them up in defense to ward away possible predators eyeing it as a tasty snack. The slab the fossil is on is the original slab to this fossil and has a single repaired fracture crosswise through the body but barely visible. The preparation is exquisite and exposes all the delicate detail of the decapod.
Mecochirus longimanatus is an extinct member of the diverse group of arthropods called DECAPODA. Decapods comprise lobster, shrimp, prawns and crabs. The majority of Solnhofen crustaceans are shrimp such as Aeger sp.. Lesser crustacean fauna of the decapods are classified as REPTANTIANS. Reptantians include crayfish, lobster and crabs and are identified by the first of the three pairs of pincered walking legs, being the largest. Eryma is not a shrimp but is classified as a lobster and is the oldest true lobster. Lobster, shrimp and prawns all possess an elongated, segmented body with a flexible carapace covering the thorax and head. Other basic traits are the presence of multiple pairs of limbs and a fan-like tail. Because of the lightness and loose articulation of a decapod's carapace, intact preservation of the entire creature is quite rare and the abundance of the animal in the fossil layers is most often represented by partial or poorly preserved specimens.
Famous for producing an astonishing diversity of rare and most intricately preserved fossils found anywhere in the world, the Solnhofen Lithographic Limestone Formation of Solnhofen and Eichstatt in southern Germany are legendary. Specimens like this are true investments as quality specimens and source deposits rapidly continue to become depleted.
WARNING: We have noticed an increasing occurrence of heavily restored and false painted examples in the marketplace of various types of German lithographic limestone fossils. Similar to the horrid abundance of "fossils" from Lebanon where the entire animal is completely painted including fine outlines of the legs, body and antennae, crustacean fossils from Germany are also painted with the utmost skill and detail. In many cases, the rock is carved prior to painting to further give the appearance of a "fossil". This is done with paintbrushes that are just a few bristles thick and the skilled craftspeople that make these "fossils" are able to recreate the finest detail that continues to fool most buyers of shrimp and other crustacean fossils. If the price seems too good to be true, then that should be the first and foremost 'red flag'.
The highest grade 100% GENUINE fossils are rare and have high worldwide intrinsic value. There are no 'bargains'. While fossils from this region can exhibit the finest possible preservation of any site in the world, they are extremely rare and occur with less frequency compared to most other fossil-bearing formations. The GENUINE presence of minute, finely detailed body parts DRAMATICALLY affects the price!